Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Stephen Ferguson

Second Advisor

Dr. Larry Oppliger

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert Shamu

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This work compares the action of pure water to various aqueous electrolytes on aluminum surface film formation at about 100°C. The electrolytes were pure water with various inhibitor ions added. The ions were nitrate, tungstate, borate, molybdate, silicate, phosphate, a mixture of nitrate and molybdate, and a mixture of silicate and molybdate. The investigative technique was Rutherford backscattering spectroscopy (RBS) using 2 MeV alpha particles with an annular detector set at 180 degrees for maximum elemental resolution. RBS was chosen for this investigation because it offers in an easily interpretable manner a relatively fast and semi-quantitative method of analysis of surface films a few microns thick. Since RBS was new to the WMU HVEC tandem Van de Graaff accelerator laboratory, the implementation and use of all aspects of this tool are described.

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